Monday, September 26, 2011

Starchy Times

Giligin's Bar is a small establishment in Scottsdale, AZ. I visited them in January 2011 and to my surprise their menu included five or six eating challenges. There was standard fare, such as the hot wings that promised to rupture your colon, and the 12-egg omelet. I like to experience the bizarre. The 20-corndog challenge stood out. What grabbed my attention was the 5 lb tater tot challenge.

You get one hour to devour the pile for a free meal and a $50 house credit. Is this much starch and grease ever a good idea?

In a word, no. In a thousand words, look at the photo above. I should have went with the corndogs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Fat in Burbank

Last Saturday was epic by any standard for consumption. Fatburger in Burbank hosted a 12-patty, 6 lb burger eating contest. Ok, so maybe it's a quasi-challenge as well. This beast is four times the size of the standard Triple Kingburger Challenge. The first competitor to completely annihilate their burger tower would win $50, basically refunding the purchase price of $29 and putting some $20 in the pocket. Competitive eating isn't always about the money. Sometimes, it's about the eating.

6 lbs of ground beef is no mean feat. The contest was open to the public, but as of high noon only two people had shown up. I was there, and so was Mary "I Like 'Em Hot" Bowers, in her third appearance at an eating contest. A local man named Luis was convinced to join us. Surely, he is a brave man.

We conducted some pre-contest interviews, we sat down, and all of a sudden we were eating. This would be the single largest portion of ground beef I would attempt to consume in a meal. Luis was the first man to drop out, and in stunning fashion, his daughter took his place and conitnued to eat for several minutes. The father-daughter team finished half.

Mary refused to quit. Her progress became muted as time passed, and after finishing about the half the tower she stopped the experiment. 3 lbs of beef is still excellent. It's early for Mary, and judging from my own trajectory, she's got better days ahead in this game.

In all honesty, I was suffering after finishing 5.5 lbs of beef. It was so greasy! The last half pound was a ketchup-laden, Coke-soaked struggle. One staff member poked fun at me for twirling the last few pieces in my hand. I didn't want to eat, but at that point, it wasn't about eating. It was time to win.

It was all over at 32 agonizing minutes. There was no time limit, no incentive to rush, but in those final minutes I wish I'd stepped it up from the get-go. That's another challenge-contest for the record books.

Next year, when they host the contest again, Fatburger in Burbank is aiming for a company record: 20 patties. 10 lbs of ground beef. We'll see if I can survive that.

But one thing's for sure: Luis and his daughter unexpectedly shared a wonderful and entertaining experience. I'm not a gambling man, but I hope they come back to the table. They had too much fun out there.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hectic Times in South OC

Last week was busy. Between seeing myself on Man v Food Nation (strange and surreal), pioneering a burrito challenge, and winning a Fatburger 6 lb burger contest, life outside the classroom has been without a dull moment.

Before I go through all these recent events, I'd like to report on a burrito challenge from South Orange County that was completed successfully some months back in May 2011. A friend and I ventured to Los Cabos Cantina in Lake Forest, home to the 7 lb "Biggest Burrito Challenge." The challenge is normally offered Tuesday nights, but we got ours on a weekend.

Is it truly 7 lbs, or does that weight include the rice and beans that adorn the sides of the pizza platter? No one on the wait staff could really tell us. It was not a difficult challenge. However, it was an enjoyable one. The meat was incredibly tender, rice flavorful, and the beans complimented well with melted cheese.

The only thing I can say is: bring silverware! They normally only give you plastic cutlery, and I struggled mightily to get things done quickly. My friend and I both finished under 14 minutes. The challenge officially entails a 30 minute limit. Fail to get it done and you'll pay $30 for your disaster. There's no free shirt here, but you do get your photo on the wall.

We celebrated our wins in appropriate fashion, splitting a nacho platter and driving over to a local Golden Spoon for some soft serve. I don't know, at some point it feels like all this eating after a challenge becomes gratuitous. Then again, I'm probably the last person who should be raising that point.

Look for my next posts to include the recent burrito challenge (with video) and the Fatburger contest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Man Vs. Burritos

Anyone want to guess how much these burritos weigh? These are two Killer burritos from Chile Red in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. The menu says they weigh 3 lbs each, but there's way those are legitimate numbers.

The restaurant will give anyone who finishes one killer burrito a free t-shirt. There's no time limit, though the restaurant recognizes my previous challenge attempt at 9 minutes as the official record. When I asked if anyone had ever consumed two in one sitting, all I got were replies of amazement. Never in the restaurant's history - since 1985 - had that been done. So that became a test for me.

The first one went down around 9:30 real time, but the second one was agonizing. It took 37 minutes to completely finish both. There were moments I really wanted to stop. That was one of the most intense challenges I've ever endured. I'd estimate the weight of both burritos at 10 lbs, with lots of meat and cheese. The restaurant owners were most impressed by the display and gave me both challenges on the house. Their hospitality and support was simply exemplary. I need to go back and eat three.

Tomorrow night, I will be appearing on Man v Food Nation to attempt a 4 lb tri tip sandwich in San Luis Obispo. The opportunity was extraordinary. The finished product should be more entertaining than my YouTube productions.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Following discussions with a few fellow eaters, I've decided to simplify this site. I will also begin setting up a forum for people where they may create threads to discuss competitive eating-related topics. Credit goes to Dax Swanson for prodding me in this direction.

Eatfeats offers an incredible database, and up-to-date news, but absoultely no means for users to create discussions. It's only natural that the CE community has some place to gather and discuss. The discussions on eatfeats become trivial because users post anonymously, sometimes off-topic, and use the cover of fiction to attack others.

This is a community of proud and vibrant members. It does not matter if you belong to a league or participate independently. We should respect one another, identify ourselves by name, and discuss openly. My work on this project (among others) will commence immediately.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Video: Kobayashi Takes the Stage

The Derby Deli brought a great contest this year, replete with custom logos for all the eaters and new rules for tallying consumed hot dogs and buns.

All food "debris" left on plates, inside drinking cups, on and below tables was collected, strained, and weighed against competitors' totals. Eaters were also given separate drinking vessels for "dunking" and drinking. The new rules brought an element of science to the proceedings. Eaters would only get credit for legitimate consumption.

Takeru Kobayashi, the event headliner, entered the packed area to great fanfare and applause.

He crushed the competition with 49 hdbs in 10 minutes, but was a distant mile from the projected target of 70 dogs and buns. Defending champ Tom Gilbert ate 29 and "Furious" Pete finished with an angry 25.

Well, there's always next year.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Preview: West Coast Hot Dog Eating Championship 2011

The field posing with hot dogs
Tonight's the night. In Mission Viejo, possibly the largest gathering of eating talent outside of an IFOCE event will congregate at the Derby Deli to determine the West Coast Hot Dog Eating Championship. 
Who do we have here? The best independent talent in Southern California, mixed up with some of the best talent the eating world has to offer. Anyone who believes that an independent contest is lame, subpar, or merely features a big dog beating up on barflies, better open up their eyes and take notice. 
Look at the list...
Takeru Kobayashi
Tom Gilbert
"Furious" Pete Czerwinski 
Dale Boone
Richard LeFevre (not pictured) 
Kevin Ross 
Johnnie Excel   
Aaron Ybarra
Naader Reda
Mary Bowers (making her debut) 

With the exception of the lone female in the contest, every person billed approaches the table with considerable experience. Every rank in the contest will be hard fought. On the line is eternal glory, $10,000 and a bunch of trophies.

I'm looking for Kobayashi to eat 70 hdbs or more. Even if he doesn't, it's going to be a hell of an event. And the interplay between Tom Gilbert and "Furious" Pete, who went into sudden death to decide last year's title, will be electrifying. 
Could we possibly see an upset tonight? 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Video: Me and Kevin at the Stadium

In July, at long last, Kevin Ross and I went after the Big League Challenge at Stadium Pizza in Wildomar, CA. There were no winners so we went in and blazed a trail for future food warriors.

What's in the Big League Challenge, you ask? It's 7 lbs of total food. An 18" pizza with seven toppings, 12 hot wings, a loaf of garlic bread, and a pitcher of soda. The place has one of those soda machines that lets you mix and match flavors. Despite the huge array of choices, we independently decided upon root beer.

Kevin began the challenge with great speed. For a second I thought he'd leave me in the dust, but we evened out and finished with similar times.

Of late I've been busy with video editing. Lots of it. My next relevant post will include some photos from the restaurant.